Amari Rodgers received two pieces of very important news Monday.
First, the USC commit discovered the Trojans' interim head coach, Clay Helton, had been promoted to full-time after leading his team to the Pac-12 Championship Game against Stanford Saturday. Shortly after, Rodgers learned he had been awarded the TSSAA Class 4A Mr. Football Back of the Year Award at the Mr. Football Awards at Nissan Stadium in Nashville.
The Scout three-star wide receiver and his Knoxville Catholic team will play for a state championship Friday night, where a few of the coaching staffs, including No. 1 Clemson, are planning to watch him perform. Rodgers has been committed to USC since June 25, and the new hire at the top will help decide if he sticks with his commitment or weighs other offers.
"Coaches are on the road right now and a few of them are planning to come see me, so I'm going to see how that works out," Rodgers said. "USC just hired a new head coach, so I think that's going to help out to see if I'm going to stay there or open up my recruitment. As of right now, I'm 100 percent committed to USC, but I'm still going to take my options open."
Tennessee is still nipping at his heels, and Rodgers' hometown school has pressed hard to get him to stay in-state as he continues his recruitment process. The 5-foot-10, 185-pound class of 2016 prospect stays in contact with head coach Butch Jones, defensive coordinator John Jancek and wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni as they attempt to sway him to remain in his native city.
"I'm really close with (the Tennessee coaching staff)," Rodgers said. "I go to almost every home game. They tell me they just want me to stay home because it's the home city, so they're going to try as hard as they can to get me to stay in Knoxville."
It's not out of the question, either. Rodgers told InsideTennessee he is currently "100 perecent committed" to USC, but is still keeping his options open and didn't rule out potential future visits to schools that still have contact with him, including Tennessee, Clemson and Wake Forest.
"Tennessee is still in the mix," Rodgers said. "You know I've got to keep them in the mix because it's the home city. They're an SEC school. They're doing well this season and going to a bowl game, and Clemson. They're starting to talk to me a little bit, but if they offer me, they'll definitely be in consideration because before I committed, Clemson was my dream school."
Watch the exclusive interview above with one of Tennessee's most coveted wide receiver targets as he discusses how his recruitment has gone, what his Knoxville Catholic team needs to do to win a state championship and more.